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Boats at Three Sisters Springs

About Crystal River | Homosassa Springs | The Nature Coast

Crystal River-Homosassa Springs-Central Florida's hidden nature coast has an abundance of outdoor adventure for everyone.  Crystal River and Homosassa Springs are the gems of central Florida's Nature Coast and proclaimed home of the manatees. A nature lover's payground located in Citrus county 2 hours north of Tampa, Fl. Activities include boating, diving, snorkleing, scalloping, hiking, birding, kayaking and swimming with the manatees. 

Crystal River and Homasassa Springs are small, unspoiled towns located in Citrus county nestled along Florida's central coast. The Crystal River is an inlet that leads out to the Gulf of Mexico. The temperature of the waters in and around the river are at 72 degrees year round and make for a warm water refuge for the West Indies Manatee. When the temperature in the Gulf of Mexico drops the manatees head for the warm waters of Crystal River and Homosassa Springs. The crystal clear waters are a result of the many springs in the area. There are over 40 springs that pump millions of gallonsof pure, fresh water into the Homosassa and Crystal Rivers. he springs can be visited from a variety of locations.  


Local Tip: A fun way to explore the area is to take a drive or bike on the Fort Island trail which winds through lush island inlets of Ozello to the end of the road on the water.
Boats at Three Sisters Springs
   
Where to Go
A magnificent place to view the springs and the manatees is the 3 Sisters Springs. Accessible by boat or kayak only are 3 springs hidden in a magical cove of amazing crystal clear waters. The cove is surrounded by the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and humans are forbidden to access it in order to preserve it for the native animals. That is one of the reasons this place is so special. After arriving on your kayak or boat it is just a short, shallow swim into the cove. 72 degrees is a bit cold but it is so worth it. Once inside you will see there are 3 springs, 1 on the right and 2 on your left.  You can dive down and actually see the water gushes out of the earth's surface. During the winter months September 1st through April 30th the cove will be filled with manatees and you can swim right next to them. Be sure to bring your snorkle gear for the best view. It is an awesome experience.

Another great place to go is King's Bay. The bay has many springs and is also home to the Manatee Sanctuary. In the bay is Catfish Corner which is a 4 ft. hole that starts in 15 ft. of water and opens up to a 10 x 20 ft. room. The spring derives it's name from the hundreds of catfish that live there. Magnolia Springs is an entrance to a cave system that collasped in 1963. The entrance room is 35 ft. deep and is a good spot to catch a glimpse of a manatee. For the diver, there is Big or Kings Springs. It is 75 ft. wide and drops down 30 ft. There are 2 entrances to a cave that is 60 ft. deep and goes back 50 ft. Underwater shots are amazing.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Park is a fun-filled place where you not only can you see the springs but native Florida animals of all species. It is a great place for families as it offers something for all types of natures lovers. The park is actually a rehabilitation center for injured or orphaned animals so that makes it extra special. The park provides a habitat for the animals that is close to their own as possible. You start off at the visitor center there is a fee but that goes to help care for the animals so we all win. Then you embark on a pontoon boat ride on Pepper Creek which is worth it alone as it winds through scenic landscape and is 1.2 miles long. From there you you enter the park where ther is a concession stand, restrooms and a giftshop. You the can begin your adventure by either going down into the underwater observatory or walking through the trails. The underwater observatory nicknamed the "fish bowl" is where the the spring the headwaters for the Homosassa River are. It pumps out millions of gallons of crytsal clear water an hour. You can view thousands of fish, 34 different varietes and of course the stars of the park, the manatees. There are also educational programs offered 3 times daily such as the Manatee encounter and Hippopotamus and alligator encounters. The wildlife walk offers viewing Florida wildlife such as key deer, black bears, American alligators, Florida bobcats, red foxes, flamingos and a plethera of other floridian feathered friends. Bird feeding is not only allowed but encouraged.This park is a must see for all nature lovers and you are guaranteed to see a manatee 365 of the year.

If History is your thing the you must visit Crystal River Archeological State Park. This national Historic Landmark is home to Pre-Columbian Native American burial mounds. It's main attraction is the temple platform a plaza are where the Native American river dwellers held their ceremonies. It sits atop the edge of the Crystal River offering spectacular views. It is a very peaceful place and is worth the climb to the top.  Due to it's location halfway between King's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the park also offers excellent fishing. Due to the mix of fresh water and salt water the angler's possibilities are endless.

Another popular activity is scalloping. The season runs July 1- September 25. The area is known for it's vast amounts of scallops many of the local restaurants will even cook them up for you.

Where to Eat 
If you are getting ready to go out Kayaking or boating for the day stop in and fill up at Grannie's Restaurant. They are located on HWY 19 and easy to find . They are also located down the street from Crystal River Kayak Rentals which is the closest kayak rentals business to the 3 Sisters Springs. If you are really hungry when you stop in a Grannie's order the Breakfast Ham, you won't leave hungry.

If you want to get something to take out on the boat, you can't go wrong with theBrooklyn Dockside Deli. The sandwiches are huge and the prices are good. Tell them you are boating and they will wrap it up nicely for you. Get their signature sandwhich the Brooklyn Bomber it comes with Ham, Cappricola, Salami, Pepperoni, Provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, hot cherry peppers and their special dressing. Nice and hearty for a day of sun and fun. They deliver too.

For some real excitment head out to the Monkey Bar at the Homossassa Riverside Resort. They have a tiny island with 5 spider monkeys you watch play right from your table. Legend has it that back in the 1940's there was a small wildlife attraction located the train would make a stop here and passengers could swim and visit the attraction. Although it is long gone the monkeys remain, 

A family fun place to go is Cody's Roadhouse. Although it is a chain restaurant the locals seem to have made it their own. The food is good, the beer is cold and well priced. The parking lot is always full at Cody's.

An interesting place to dine is Neon Leon's Zydeco Steakhouse. It  has that old Florida feel under the large oak trees as the neon sign flashes tonight's special. They welcome you in the front door by putting beads aroud your neck, and as the sound of  live zydeco music fills the air, you know you are somewhere special. The menu features gumbo, jambalya, po boys, seafood and more...everything is tasty. It is owned by a former member of Lynard Skynard. A must see.

Cracker's Restaurant is a fun little spot with a diversified menu. The food is good and the drinks are great. The restaurant also features a tiki bar right on King's Bay with live music.

Where to Stay
The Best Western Crystal River Resort has everything you need for a great stay. Crackers restaurant and tiki bar is on site. as well as the Crystal Lodge Dive Center. The dive center has diving gear, snorkel gear wet suits, boat rentals and tours. They are very reasonable as pontoon boat rentals are $25 an hour and that includes gas. They have a pool, a marina and are directly on King's Bay. Plus, the Brooklyn Deli is right next door.

If you love nature and adventure Crystal River and Homosassa Springs are waiting for you.

Local Tip: The Manatees can be found in great numbers during the winter months. Summer months are beautiful, but Manatees are scarce.

View of the Crystal River from Indian Mounds View of the Crystal River from Indian Mounds
View of the Crystal River from Indian Mounds
View of the Crystal River from Indian Mounds
Monkey Island in Homosassa Monkey Island in Homosassa
Monkey Island in Homosassa
Monkey Island in Homosassa
Flamingos Flamingos
Flamingos
Flamingos
 
Local Tip: Take a walk through the Heritage Village in Crystal River's historic downtown which is full of shops and restaurants housed in restored historic buildings.
Visiting Crystal River and Homosassa is a trip back to old Florida with modern amenities. Florida's best kept secret where can you see hundreds of manatees in winter and bath in the mineral rich freshwater springs year round. Bay Scallops are plentiful too.

Thank you for your interest in Crystal River, Florida. We would love to hear from you. Contact us!

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Inside Three Sisters Springs Inside Three Sisters Springs
Inside Three Sisters Springs

Inside Three Sisters Springs

Breakfast at Grannies Breakfast at Grannies
Breakfast at Grannies

Breakfast at Grannies

Manatee in Crystal River Manatee in Crystal River
Manatee in Crystal River

Manatee in Crystal River
 
 

Visiting Crystal River and Homosassa is a trip back to old Florida with modern amenities. Florida's best kept secret where can you see hundreds of manatees in winter and bath in the mineral rich freshwater springs year round. Bay Scallops are plentiful too.